Home Page Design – Basics

By Gaby Diaz
Strategy Analyst,
Marketing Experiments

The home page is probably one of the most complicated pages of any website. It is the face of your company, the starting point of sales, a way to connect visitors to customer support or your corporate site.

Many companies struggle with their home page design. Usually, home pages are managed by more than one department. This results in internal battles of what goes on the home page and what department owns what space. But, what do customers want? Is the design friendly and effective enough to capture sales?

When designing or re-designing your home page, here are a couple of thumb-rules you should consider:

  • The header and footer. These two sections are usually devoted to company information. In the header, Internet users expect to see company logo, search tool, and links to login, shopping cart, and customer support. In the footer: links to corporate site (“About Us”, “Careers”, etc), contact information, policies, advertising options, a site map, and help.
  • Navigation bar. The location of the navigation bar is probably not as important as its structure. Usually, bars are located either at the top or left side of the page. It is important that you do customer research and find out how your customers will organize your products. That will give you a better idea about organizing the bar in a friendly way.
  • The 20-80 rule. Give priority to the 20% of your products/services that drive 80% of your revenues. You want to make sure visitors have quick access to your most popular products.
  • Value proposition. Compare your home page against your top competitors and ask yourself: Why should someone buy from my website? Do you tell visitors what you sell? What does your company do? What do you offer that others don’t? This sounds obvious, but you need to remind visitors (especially new ones) what is special about your site.
  • Motivation. Do you have any special customer service policies like free shipping, money back guarantee, loyalty program, etc? Make sure you have them on a highly visible area like the top of the page.
  • Credibility indicators. If your website has commercial transactions, make sure you place secure certificates and 3rd party certifications in a visible area.
  • Search Engine Optimization. Try to use text links as much as possible. Pictures are pretty but very inefficient when it comes to good rankings with search engines.

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